LifeProject is a family-focused eCommerce startup based in Hong Kong, offering a wide range of products and convenient home delivery. They operate two online stores that focus on organic products and pet products: PetProject delivers a wide range of pet food and supplies to homes while Life Project offers natural, organic, premium groceries.
There was two main market opportunity that co-founders took the chance in: significant growth in online retail market and Hong Kong residents’ increasing demand for organic goods.
According to Eurmonitor’s 2017 forecast, Hong Kong’s total retail market size is US$8bn – 90% of which is spent at the modern supermarket, with 10% of that in the baby and pet categories. Although the majority of this market is still in brick & mortar stores, internet retail has been growing 10% year-on-year thanks to Hong Kong’s very high broadband and mobile penetration rates.
Another opportunity was the great number of urban affluent shoppers in Hong Kong, and the shortage of organic goods. “Nishant and I are not from Hong Kong. Since it was not easy to find organic products, we started the business to meet our own needs,” LifeProject co-founder Michelle Cheng said. “There is a huge demand among Hong Kong residents to find stores that offer organic, gluten-free, grain-free products; however, organic shops are mostly located in wealthy districts and have limited products.”
Cheng and Nishant started with pet products and expanded into the multi-billion dollar premium grocery market, seeing their next opportunity in baby and child care products. Since 2012, the company has generated HK$7m (US$0. 9m) in sales with more than 70 active suppliers and over 3200 customers, most of whom are strong repeat buyers, The company is reaching out to raise US$1m to build up its team and invest in marketing, technology and logistics.
Leveraging Hong Kong as an entry point, the eCommerce company is now looking to expand to the premium grocery segment in mainland China, where strong economic growth has helped increase demand for quality natural and organic products. The company is also targeting Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai in Southeast Asia, as affluent urban centers with great interest in health.
“By ensuring 30 day free return, free shipping for spends of US$40 and above, and replying to emails within 24 hours, we spend a lot of time on the phone and in live chat to answer customer questions, suggesting products, explaining differences. We consider the time and effort spent with customers an investment which better pays off than advertisements,” Cheng said.
Image Credit: LifeProject
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)